The 13th Floor Haunted Exceeds Expectations
by Alex Barnes
I will be honest: I have never liked Halloween.
Maybe it is because my sister’s birthday is on Halloween. Maybe it is because I went through a horrible emo phase in middle school. But something about haunted houses do not appeal to me.
So naturally, when I was invited to the 13th Floor Haunted House, I was not excited. I had heard the constant commercials, raving reviews -- and upon getting there, a surprising amount of screaming coming from the inside -- but I knew myself and my general dissatisfaction with the whole holiday, so I did not set the bar very high.
Coincidentally, I attended the event on Friday the 13th. I would highly recommend buying tickets in advance, because the sale-at-the-door line looked terrible. I am shoulder checked by a shrieking girl running from a grinning actor with a chainsaw, and my eye roll rivaled that of another nearby actor, who was holding eyeballs in his hand and rolling them.
As I ducked into the entrance, heavy metal blared and flashing lights blurred my vision. I heard the person I was with say something along the lines of, “Oh, I forgot to tell you: when I bought the tickets I had to sign this waiver for you; you can’t sue them if you get hurt, and you’re ok with mild electric shocks.” I had time to get in an alarmed sounding, “What?” before we were ushered into a group with other thrill seekers. While waiting for our guide, a variety of amazingly costumed actors floated around, making themselves available for jump scares and selfies.
We were then quickly escorted through a barbed-wire gate and tossed into what seemed like a dark forest, where shrouded actors were ready to leap out and scream at every turn. The twists and turns were dizzying, and I completely forgot that we were actually inside of a warehouse. One of my favorite rooms was one with a crooked floor, which made it impossible to walk straight and had people popping out to scare you along the way. Another was a dreamlike open field with a thin and opaque laser at chest level, which imitated a cross between the feeling of wading through a swamp, and being abducted by aliens. Another was a tunnel made of inflatable balloons on all sides that would push up against you in an intestine-esque way.
What I was most impressed by were the sheer variety of fears the house created. I went in expecting to be entirely unaffected, yet I think that every fear anyone could possibly dream of was accounted for, leaving no one disappointed. Also mesmerizing were the costumes and makeup, which looked like they had taken hours to prepare.
The 13th Floor Haunted House, located in Melrose Park, about 45 minutes from Northside, will remain open until November 4. Tickets can be bought online for between $20 and $33 depending on the popularity of the day, with add-ons like fast passes available for an additional $10 and $20. Anyone is allowed to buy tickets, although their website lists the house as not being recommended for those under 12 years old. The whole experience was incredibly fun and I highly recommended it for Halloween lovers and skeptics alike.